The third game of the preseason is considered a dress rehearsal for most NFL teams and Steven Jackson stepped out for Friday’s contest in Kansas City looking sharp.

Starting with a 25-yard run on the first handoff, Steven ran all over the Chiefs on Friday (Post-Dispatch).

From the first play of the game, SJ39 was fresh and ready. He took the opening handoff from Sam Bradford, pushed through the first level and bounced out right, gaining 25 yards on the ground before being pushed out of bounds.

“We definitely wanted to come out and set the tone for the game, get into a rhythm for the offense, especially the running game,” Steven said. “Last week we had some up and down possessions, but this week we wanted to reestablish ourselves.”

The 25-yard gain on the first play from scrimmage was the first of 15 carries on Friday for No. 39, who had just six carries for 10 yards in his preseason debut. Coach Steve Spagnuolo approached S-Jax during the week about increasing his workload against the Chiefs and he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Steven was very open to the idea.

“We talked extensively during the week about the two issues we thought we had in the Tennessee game, which were we didn’t run the ball effectively and we didn’t stop the run very well,” he said. “So we wanted to have a mind-set of being able to do that. Steven was all for it. And I thought he looked really good last night.

“The first game he was in against Tennessee, certainly it was the first time, knocking the rust off, etc., etc., but I thought he had a great approach.”

SJ39 made the most of his extended opportunities, rushing for 72 yards and hauling in a catch for five yards as the Rams built up a 14-0 lead in the first quarter.

“I thought the way Steven ran the ball was tremendously improved from the week before,” Spagnuolo said. “It certainly looked like the Steven we know. I thought the offensive line did a good job.”

St. Louis scored on each of their first two drives and Action Jackson remained in the game deep into the second before taking the rest of the night off. He now has 21 carries this preseason, his highest total since 2005 and he’s feeling fresh because of the additional workload. Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch was impressed with Steven’s play in the game:

Against Kansas City, Jackson looked much more in sync. He bounced plays outside on several occasions for good yardage, reminding observers once again of his underrated speed. He had several effective cutback runs, displaying good patience and vision.

Van Ram of Rams blog Turf Show Times thinks Friday’s showing was a preview of how dangerous the Rams will be in the running game this season:

Led by Steven Jackson, the Rams averaged 4.9 yards on 25 carries in the first half, against the Chiefs’ starters. Jackson averaged 4.8 YPC himself. Last year, Jackson averaged 3.8 YPC and the team had a 3.7 YPC, tied for second worst in the league. The addition of Harvey Dahl at right guard looks to be paying dividends already. For all the talk about how much McDaniels’ offenses pass the ball, don’t be surprised to see the Rams grind it out on the ground when they can.

Kansas City coach Todd Haley said the Chiefs could see it coming and still couldn’t stop it.

“They definitely had a clear-cut mode that they were going to play that game, early especially, which was run the football,” Haley told the Kansas City Star.

Led by the 14-point output of No. 39 and his fellow starters, the Rams cruised to a 14-10 win over the rival Kansas City Chiefs. They are now 3-0 on the preseason, but Steven is more impressed with the high level that they’ve played at, regardless of outcome.

“I actually look more to the quality of football, regardless of if we win or lose,” Jackson said. “I think we’re playing some good quality football. And hopefully, this momentum that we’re building, the confidence that we’re building, carries over to when it counts.”

The Rams have a short week ahead and wrap their preseason schedule this Thursday in Jacksonville against the Jaguars. The Rams do plan to play their starters for at least part of the game, so Steven may see as much as a quarter of action in the last warmup for the regular season.

Thursday’s kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. CDT and the game can be seen on KTVI Channel 2. NFL Network will replay the game nationwide on Friday at 9 a.m. CDT